Random Monday Fun With Google and 24

I just moved into a new place and haven’t had a chance to set up the wifi network, so I had a whole weekend without The Internets. It was weird at first, but also kinda fun…I plugged in and had over 100 email messages waiting for me (and not all of them were for “V1agra”.) That was cool.
Today, I found out about a number of Google Map-enabled sites, that show once again why Google kicks so much ass. They build things that are useful, that work, and that people are allowed to use for their own purposes, without a lot of hassle. And, I found them thanks to one of the few “big” blogs of use out there, Lifehacker.

The first was a site devoted to the locations used in the filming of 24, one of the few shows I’m addicted to these days, cleverly named The JackTracker. Now after watching tonight’s 2 hour bonanza of TV Crack, I can hop online and see just where Jack shot the bad guys! Yee haw!
Being the TV and movie location nerd that I am, something like this is great stuff. Now I can combine both addictions into one nice, compact little pop culture speedball. Hooray!
The second was a site that can track any package, and show you your package’s progress on a Google Map. Located at iSnoop.net, it’s one of those things you didn’t know you needed to know until now. I always like finding out this kind of info, and now I can do so from the comfort of my home on the N-Judah line. Woo Hoo!
Potentially the most intriguing, however, was Google Labs‘ experiment in Portland known as Google Transit. It pairs the usefulness of Google Maps with Portland’s transit system to provide you with directions, and compare driving vs. transit routes and times.
When you consider how bad Transit 511 (aka 511 Is A Joke) really is, easily one of the most poorly designed and implemented sites one could come up with, Google’s experiment with Portland’s transit system gives us hope that one day we could have something similar here in San Francisco.
In the meantime, if you aren’t sure how to get from here to there using public transit, avoid the frustration and hassle of 511 Is A Joke, and call Muni directly at 415 673 6864. Not only will you get way more accurate information, but you’ll also talk to a friendly, live human being who will cheerfully help you out.
Sure, it doesn’t work 24/7, but it’s better than nothing, and certainly better than 511!

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